The Discovery News opus, supposed to be about our Icarus paper, is in fact not.
They go on to argue that their detailed analysis that the human genome (map here) displays a thorough precision-type orderliness in the mapping between DNA’s nucleotides and amino acids.
Human genome? The word “human” occurs indeed a couple of times in the Icarus paper, but we failed to find the phrase “human genome” there. What a nice example of human-centered chauvinism 🙂
It is fun to trace how mass media play the game of broken phone. Referring to the Discovery News note, the guys at the Huffington Post write the following: “The scientists are suggesting that an advanced alien civilization “seeded” our galaxy eons ago with an ET signal that eventually found its way to Earth, implanting a genetic code into humans, reports Discovery.com.” Translating this passage, Russian mass media go even further, saying that “…alien civilization “originated” our galaxy billions of years ago by means of a signal that reached the Earth and implanted a genetic code into humans, reports Discovery.com.” Salvador Dalí with his surrealism fades in comparison.
Biological SETI inevitably smacks head-on into an idea that is completely antithetical to science: the concept of intelligent design (ID)
Another way to put it is that we all should immediately contact Craig Venter and ask him to remove his email and other watermarks from genomes of Mycoplasma laboratorium, because it is completely antithetical to science and smacks head-on into (or simply smacks of) ID.
This interpretation leads them to a farfetched conclusion: that the genetic code, “appears that it was invented outside the solar system already several billions years ago.”
Now, compare it to the complete sentence from the paper: “Whatever the actual reason behind the decimal system in the code, it appears that it was invented outside the Solar System already several billions years ago.” Well, we admit that our English is not perfect. But does that sentence indeed sound ambiguously so that one might say the word “invented” here is about the genetic code, rather than about the decimal system?
Merry Christmas, Discovery News! 😉